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Identity, Thy Name Is Gordian by Dan Geer
The issue of identity is passing unignorable. The nature of the web—that everything and everyone is equidistant—erases the inherited intuitions of the public at large even if the public understands that when you cannot tell a computer from a person, you can drop the distinction.
Identity in a connected world is certainly different than in the village where, to a first approximation, you know everyone and everyone knows you—"you" being both your physical manifestation plus your history and kinship. Literature and catwalks alike are overrun with folks who claim that their real life only began when they moved to some place where nobody knew who they were and, better still, someplace big enough that the odds of seeing the same person twice was zero unless it was intentional. They call this freedom.
So welcome to the Internet. You don't have to be told that things here are seldom as they seem, that milk often masquerades as cream. What, then, does identity mean in, on, around, or through the Internet?
- Dan Geer is a security researcher with a quantitative bent. He is an electrical engineer (MIT), a statistician (Harvard), and someone who thinks truth is best achieved by adversarial procedures (school of hard knocks). He serves as Senior Fellow at In-Q-Tel. His published work is available at http:/
/. geer. tinho. net/ pubs